Who Is David Goggins? Inspiring Perseverance

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Can't Hurt Me" by David Goggins. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Who is David Goggins? What is David Goggins’ book about and how does he overcome obstacles.

Before you can understand the book Can’t Hurt Me, you’ll need to answer the question: who is David Goggins? It’s important to understand Goggins’ background of abuse and poverty to see why he pushed himself through grueling training and wanted to prove himself.

So, who is David Goggins? Keep reading to find out.

Who Is David Goggins?

In Can’t Hurt Me, author David Goggins describes his transformation from someone who let his circumstances control him to someone who proactively works toward his goals and seeks greatness. He thinks everyone can work to cultivate a drive for self-improvement in order to overcome obstacles and reach their goals. So who is David Goggins anyway?

As a young man, Goggins developed strategies to push himself to achieve more. He especially enjoyed physical challenges, serving in the Army and as a Navy SEAL and competing in ultramarathons and other athletic events. He always looked for ways to push himself to new heights.

David Goggins’s story has taught him that most people don’t recognize or work toward their true potential. Working toward new goals can be uncomfortable because we’re trying new things that don’t come easy at first, like learning a new language or training for a half marathon. Because of this, it’s easy to make choices that keep you in your comfort zone and on the same mediocre path. He estimates that most people only achieve 40 percent of their potential.

Instead, you need to actively work toward mastering your mind and cultivating a relentless drive for self-improvement to achieve your dreams and overcome obstacles, from racism to tragedy. This requires learning how to move through doubts, pain, and fear that keep you in your comfort zone.

Goggins provides challenges to start working efficiently toward your goals. Here are the challenges, in brief:

  1. Face your bad hand. Draw strength from the bad things that have happened to you.
  2. Set up your accountability mirror. Break goals and dreams down into manageable steps and hold yourself accountable to doing them.
  3. Master your mind. Practice doing things that make you uncomfortable.
  4. Best your opponent. Thrive in competitive situations.
  5. Visualize success. Envision each step you’ll take to achieve your goal, anticipating how you’ll deal with obstacles and what victory will feel like.
  6. Build your cookie jar. Create a mental cache of personal victories to inspire you when you struggle.
  7. Dismantle your governor. Keep going even when your internal voice says you should stop.
  8. Compartmentalize your time. Schedule your day to maximize time for working toward goals.
  9. Learn from failure. Evaluate and learn from failures.

David Goggins’ story is this: seek greatness. Keep finding new goals to work toward and better yourself.

Who Is David Goggins? Inspiring Perseverance

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Here's what you'll find in our full Can't Hurt Me summary:

  • What a Navy SEAL says about pushing yourself to achieve greatness
  • How to put in more effort to realize your potential
  • The 10 challenges you can take on to reach your goals

Carrie Cabral

Carrie has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember, and has always been open to reading anything put in front of her. She wrote her first short story at the age of six, about a lost dog who meets animal friends on his journey home. Surprisingly, it was never picked up by any major publishers, but did spark her passion for books. Carrie worked in book publishing for several years before getting an MFA in Creative Writing. She especially loves literary fiction, historical fiction, and social, cultural, and historical nonfiction that gets into the weeds of daily life.

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